Half a Decade

A couple weeks ago Isaiah and I celebrated our five year anniversary. For the first few years of dating we didn’t really have an anniversary (our friendship became love over time kind of thing) then we decided that we should pick a date to celebrate and Isaiah has been spoiling me with delicious food on November second ever since. Last year we had a fantastic meal at Crazy Water and this year he took me out to Lake Park Bistro. Neither of us had been there before but we had heard great things and experienced other Bartolotta restaurants so we knew we were in for a treat.

When we walked in we were greeted by an old coworker of Isaiah’s from Kil@wat. She was so great to talk to and continued to make our night special through the entire meal, starting with a couple glasses of champagne as we sat down (I thought Isaiah had arranged that but he later told me it was all her).

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The atmosphere of Lake Park Bistro was not quite as I expected. I pictured something with older style architecture, dim romantic lighting with a lighted view of the lake and French music playing in the background. Instead it had a more supper club vibe, open seating with tight tables. We were seated very close to the windows that overlook the lake but unfortunately it was too dark to see anything. I bet it is a gorgeous view in the summertime. It was slightly disappointing that it wasn’t quite the romance we were hoping for but we quickly got over it when our first course arrived.

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Escargots de bourguignons en croute – absolutely delicious. Isaiah and I savored every bite, taking in the flavor combination of the delicious butter sauce, tomato, mushroom and pastry.

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Our main courses were just as amazing. Isaiah ordered the chefs special off of the tasting menu, fitet de canette sur la peau – duck breast served over a butternut squash purée with Brussels sprout leaves and mushrooms – along with a bottle of Cabernet the chef paired with it. He knows what I like and ordered me the filet mignon au poivre. Our meal was outstanding. Throughout eating it we both continuously talked about how wonderful it was. We talked about other things too but mainly the food.

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We decided to get dessert to go (so we could eat it on the couch in our pjs) and ordered off of the chefs special once again – a hazelnut cake with chocolate mousse and a port sauce – unreal! Then, our lazy dessert eating plans were foiled when Isaiah’s friend (aka, my new favorite person) hooked us up BIG TIME. Our “to go” dessert was dropped off at our table as two other beautifully plated desserts arrived. Yes, that is three desserts. One was the most wonderful creme brûlée I have ever had and the other was a mousse au chocolat “yves camdeborde” that came with this light fresh coconut sorbet.

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I could have died. That could have been my last meal and I would be eternally satisfied.

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If you are looking for somewhere delicious to eat with great service and outstanding food, this is the place to be.

http://lakeparkbistro.com/menu/

But, if you are looking for an intimate dinner with maximum romance you’ll find that, along with wonderful French food as well, at my (it was close but still) favorite little French place in Milwaukee, Coquette Cafe.

http://www.coquettecafe.com/Menu.html

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On that note, Isaiah and I need to practice our French, at the very least to be able to pronounce what we are eating. Working on it…

Giving

Thursday evening Isaiah and I were driving through Milwaukee traffic in my Hyundai Elantra that occasionally shuts off at stop signs and has a top that does NOT drop. We got on the subject of being filthy rich and decided what we would do if we won twenty million in the lottery. We figured that was a realistic amount, you know, because wining the lottery is realistic.

We talked about traveling the world, quitting our jobs, buying fancy cars (a Jaguar convertible to be exact) and a nice house. We talked about making investments and living off of the interest. We talked about sharing with our families and friends and how we hoped being wealthy wouldn’t change us, or the way they think of us; how we would give everyone great gifts at the holidays and special occasions. It was a fun conversation to have – imagining ourselves throwing cash in the air, rolling around in it and taking pictures of our wealth.

Then we attended a new church this morning. The sermon was about aligning ourselves with the kingdom of God instead of the things of this world, all I could think of was how silly it seemed to want all of those things. To think of how we would spend this enormous amount of money and never once did it cross my mind to give it all away. This stuck in my head that I saw on pinterest…

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It is interesting how my perspective was swayed. It is so easy to want in this world – I say as I bombard my brain with clothes, shoes, decorations and food on Pinterest. For me it’s difficult to find that balance of giving and keeping. Louie C.K. says it well…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC4FnfNKwUo

So until I get my 20 mil I guess I really don’t know what I would do but I hope I would continue get rich spiritually by giving instead of getting caught up in what I do not have.

fiancés

The ring

Isaiah proposed!! And I said YES! It’s already been a month as of tomorrow. Time is flying by being caught up the joys and stresses of planning and budgeting a wedding, I can’t believe this is my first post about this!

I love the way he proposed. I love the ring he used (my maternal grandmother’s). But most of all, I love that I get to spend the rest of my life with such a wonderful man. A man that shows me he loves me. A man that is not afraid to follow his dreams. A man that works hard, inspires me daily and makes my life better in every way. To say I feel blessed is not enough. I feel so undeserving to have a life this full of love and happiness. All that I can do is thank God for what he has given me and pray that he will continue to look after us throughout our lives together – in good times and in bad.

In case you didn’t get a good look at the ring, go ahead and take another. I find myself staring while typing all day…

Miso Soup

I called Isaiah after work today and asked him what was for dinner. He said he was in the mood for something brothy. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that…brothy…soup? No then he would have said soup. Brothy….meat? No.
He went on to explain that he watched Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, in Japan. Ohhhhhh makes sense now. They had miso soup and my man wanted some. So we made it happen!

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Recipe taken and modified from Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook, “Food to Live By”
Time in the kitchen: 30 minutes.
Serves six.

8 cups of vegetable stock (2 box packages)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 large cloves of mined garlic
2 large carrots, sliced
10 deveined, peeled, small cooked shrimp
8 shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced – both white and green
2 ounces udon noodles
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Boil the stock in a large saucepan.

During this time, brown the ginger and garlic in the sesame oil in a small skillet until soft and fragrant. This smells so good I have decided that I should start every meal this way.

Once the broth is boiling, add sliced carrots and the garlic mixture from the skillet. Let simmer until carrots are tender.

Add the miso and whisk to combine. Once the miso is dissolved, add scallions, shiitake mushrooms, shrimp and udon noodles. Stir on low heat until noodles are cooked and then add the soy to season.

Serve hot with chopsticks and a spoon. Slurp it like they do in Japan (learned from No Reservations).

Jalapeño Popper Burgers

For the Super Bowl in 2011 (when the Packers won) I made homemade jalapeño poppers from skinnytaste.com. They were green and yellow and they were delicious but for some reason I ended up with the spiciest jalapeños on the planet. The tips of my fingers felt like they we’re being held on the oven door. I spent the first half of the game with my fingers in a glass of milk, pulling them out to clap and high five for the Pack.

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This recipe reminds me of that day. One of the best days ever. Our friend Jamie is visiting with her dog Finley and after three hours straight of Isaiah throwing the ball for him on the beach, we were ready for a beer break. We are trying to convince Jamie to move to Milwaukee from Florida and what better way than with food? And Wisconsin beer?

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These burgers are spicy and juicy and cheesy. Master griller Isaiah knows how to make a burger.

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Here’s how it’s done:

(makes 4 burgers)
4oz soft cream cheese
2 oz shredded sharp cheddar (use yellow if it’s Packer season)
1 jalapeño
4 lean beef 1/4 lb burger patties
4 fresh whole wheat bakery buns
Butter
Salt
Pepper
Cumin
Chipotle seasoning (we have Mrs. Dash)

Dice the jalapeño and mix in a small bowl with the cream cheese and shredded cheddar. Season the burgers with salt, pepper, cumin and chipotle seasoning. Slice and butter the buns to get ready for grill toasting. Cook the burgers on the grill and about two minutes before the burgers are done to your liking, scoop the cream cheese mixture on top and put the buns on the grill to toast. Combine it all for a spicy popper-ish tasting burger.

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Serve with a summery side salad to cut the heat. This is just arugula, sliced strawberries and Trader Joe’s champaign vinaigrette (my all time favorite dressing.)

Easy Greek Pasta

It’s a cool 88 degrees in our house. Ten more and we will have a boy band. Not really my type though, I’m more into the Jax Teller/Ryan Gosling/Isaiah Wells type. Anyway, when I got home I was hungry, but too hot to be hungry, but also too hungry to move past it. I looked in the fridge and we still had some veggies from last weekend when Isaiah’s boss dropped off some farm fresh produce on our doorstep.

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I did some chopping and dared to turn on the burner to boil the pasta. It was strenuous.

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Here’s what’s in it:
1 cucumber
1 large tomato
10 kalamata olives
1/2 lb of penne
3 oz crumbled feta
1 t Cavender’s Greek seasoning
2 T champagne vinaigrette (I used Trader Joe’s)

Chop the cucumber and tomato. Half the olives and take out the pits if they have them. Boil the pasta until cooked as desired and rinse with cool water. Mix in a bowl with crumbled feta, seasoning and dressing. If you’re really hungry, eat it right away. If you aren’t, let it chill in the fridge for a little while.

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It’s perfect for a day like today. A day when I lose all dignity and put an ice cube in my wine because it won’t stay chilled enough while I eat tasty pasta. Oh the problems I endure.

*photos taken by Katherine, learning to use the iPad

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The Big Switcheroo

Adventures with Katherine and Isaiah in and out of the kitchen are moving to a new spot. What was previously this is now this! It’s a work in progress and I am lucky to have Isaiah’s talents on my side. Hopefully once we get all the details ironed out you will see several posts a week. I am borrowing Mr. iPad from our good friend Johanna to see how it works for stuff like this. She said it’s a welcomed break from toddler goo.

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He says he misses you two.

So as our tumblr blog is phased out and the new and improved kazaiah.com becomes real, please follow, comment and make tasty food when you’re hungry.

summery pizza

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Taken and slightly modified from this.

Pizza is one of my all time favorite foods. I can say that because pizza could be anything, whatever you want it to be. It could be topped with fruit or tacos or what is left in your fridge. Having pizza as a favorite is not a huge commitment. It’s always looking to make you happy no matter what you are in the mood for. Crust, cheese and WHATEVER ELSE YOU WANT.

We start with a whole wheat Trader Joe’s raw crust that you can buy there for about $1.50. This is mostly because I am too lazy/hungry to make my own when I get home from work and it is just so EASY and DELICIOUS that I can’t do it any other way. Here is Isaiah ready to put it on the grill – capturing the mood change when I tell him that he’s in the picture.

We topped it with:

2 tablespoons of herb infused olive oil to brush on the crust
1 full sliced peach
1/2 pint of blueberries
2 grilled chicken thighs
5 fresh basil leaves
1/4 of a red onion, sliced
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Sprinkle of thyme
Fresh mozzarella
Balsamic reduction for drizzling

We threw the pan and all right on our gas grill for about 15-20 minutes and tada…perfection.

It was gooey, bursting with flavor, straight up delicious.

Approved.